Agroforestry in the Netherlands | The many benefits of hedgerows
AGROMIX | Agroforestry in Switzerland
Rineke Dijkinga – developing new and healthy food products with agroforestry
Dirk van Apeldoorn explains WUR agroforestry experiment in Lelystad (NL)
AGROMIX | Co-design methods workshop for sustainable and resilient food systems
Piet Hermus - agroforestry to encourage social dialogue
Father and son share their story and aspirations of establishing a food forest in the Netherlands.
The AGROMIX project aims to deliver participatory research to drive the transition to a resilient and efficient land use in Europe.
It focuses on practical agroecological solutions for farm and land management and related value chains. AGROMIX makes use of a network of 83 sites with Mixed Farming (MF), AgroForestry (AF) or value chain stakeholder networks, which are used to measure, design, model, test and improve these systems. A nested approach will be used to conduct 12 co-design pilots across Europe. In addition, 6 replicated long-term trial sites are used for detailed analysis (crops and livestock). AGROMIX has six specific objectives: 1) Unlock the full potential of synergies in MF/AF systems. 2) Develop and promote value chains and infrastructure for MF/AF produce. 3) Develop the MIX-A toolkit to co-design and manage MF/AF systems in practice. 4) Identify and model transition scenarios. 5) Develop policy recommendations and action plans for a successful transition. 6) Maximise the impact and legacy of the project for building low-carbon climate-resilient farming systems. AGROMIX uses a transdisciplinary multi-actor research approach with 10 universities, 7 research institutes and 11 multi-actor partners. It will use Reflexive Interactive Design methodology to include stakeholders in participatory co-design and implementation of MF/AF systems. The research starts with a work package (WP1) on context, co-creating a resilience framework. WP2 on systems design and synergies is at the heart of project. WP3 on indicators and scenarios will refine the greenhouse gas inventories for MF/AF systems and model transition scenarios. WP4 develops and tests the MIX-application/serious game. Further WPs are on economics and value chains, and on policy co-development, action plans and dissemination delivering impact and exploitation through practical innovations on farms, in value chains, at different policy levels and through communication and knowledge hubs across Europe.
AGROMIX, a European Union-based project, is working to create more farmer-to-farmer relationships through the creation of a collaborative, digital learning tool. This movement of farmers, researchers, and policy advocates look to center the perspective of farmers in EU agricultural policies.
AGROMIX stands for agroforestry and mixed farming systems. The approach entails the combination of livestock, trees, and mixed crops into farm operations. These practices help farmers move away from monoculture production— an effective way to heal the soil and realize economically viable alternatives to industrial systems, according to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley.
AGROMIX is funded as a Horizon 2020 project, a multi-year initiative to spur sustainable development through the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The EU allocated US$87 billion for approved programs that began between 2014 and 2020, which includes financial support for AGROMIX.
Researchers are discovering the benefits of combining forestry and agricultural activities.
‘Items in this section have limited availability due to supplier production issues,’ ‘Sorry, temporarily out of stock’ and ‘Sold out’ are all signs that became familiar as recent global upheavals exposed how precarious our food supply is.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to bare shelves in supermarkets as shipping routes were cut off. The war in Ukraine has affected the supply of essential grains.
But increased climate change stands to cause even greater disruption. Researchers say part of the solution to mitigating that risk is for farms to become more mixed through some combination of crop cultivation, livestock production and forestry, a move that would also make agriculture more sustainable.
For Dr Sara Burbi, assistant professor at Coventry University in the UK until December 2022 and now an independent researcher, COVID-19 was a wake-up call.
‘Suddenly, we experienced first-hand what happens when value chains are not resilient to shocks and what happens when globalisation, with all its intricacies, does not work anymore,’ she said. ‘We saw highly specialised farming systems fail when they over-relied on external inputs that they had no access to.’
Climate change, according to Burbi, could provide even bigger global shocks ranging from widespread crop failures to lower yields or damage from flooding. More sustainable agriculture is essential to ensure food supplies can withstand the impact of climate change and unexpected local, national and even global crises.